Wednesday, March 01, 2006

What is Reason?

Father Brown and Flambeau have this discussion in The Blue Cross about reason, and Father Brown says, "Reason is always reasonable." Flambeau argues that perhaps somewhere out in the infinite universe, perhaps there is a place where reason isn't reasonable.

This is where Father Brown knows that Flambeau isn't a priest, because he states this belief.

Nowadays, I am not so sure you could make that kind of judgement about a priest not being a priest because of his understanding of the word "reason."

Anyway, this led me to wonder, what is reason?


  1. That's a very interesting question, and dovetails well with the mention of sudoku on your last blog. After all, if we use reason to play a game, shouldn't we be able to explain it?

    I'm lazy, so I'll let Merriam-Webster online do the work, and pick my favorites to keep it short:

    1a : a statement offered in explanation or justification
    b : a rational ground or motive c : a sufficient ground of explanation;
    d : the thing that makes some fact intelligible
    2a(1): the power of comprehending, inferring, or thinking especially in orderly rational ways

    In all cases, the use of reason assumes a rational universe instead of a random one. A rational universe implies a created and finely honed universe.

    So, If you use reason, then you are making a statement (whether you realize it or not) that God exists.

    That's why games like sudoku are so good, as they revel in the mind of God. Playing sudoku might just be an act of worship!

    That's my nebulous line of reasoning anyway!

  2. Reason is the ability to conceptualize and draw connections, and to follow up the implications of one's ideas.
    One probably couldn't assume that a priest nowadays wouldn't attack reason, but remember, Father Brown adds, "It's bad theology." Does anyone know many priests who even know any theology?

  3. Tom -- yes! I am not sure where in AZ you are or what your situation is, but just look at the new priests being ordained in the last 10 years. There is great hope for the Church. Sure there are still those of the 60's and 70's generation, but fortunately they are dying out. JPII speaks of the new springtime in the Church, and while there are still many problems and it seems parts of the Church still seem in perpetual winter, look at the spring!

    My diocese has never been one to rattle the books with impressive numbers and in fact for many many years we were lucky if we even had a seminarian studying for this diocese. Last year we had an ordination with three candidates and now have six more in the seminary! It is spring and it is beautiful! It is too easy to continue to look at the problems and dwell on them. Sure, we have a LOT of ground to thaw out, but just look around, it is happening!

  4. Bryan J. P. Gesinger3/15/2006 8:21 PM

    Reason is the power of the human intellect to grasp reality: i. e., to acquire truths. Often people forget that even this power is contingent on faith, the act of assenting to authority. St. Paul observed, "Faith comes by hearing" (Rom. 10:17). The Greek word for "faith," "pistis," is the root of the English "epistemology": the nature of knowledge: Without faith, even human faith, there is no knowledge.


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